Across the nation universities are dealing with buildings named in honor of white supremacists: Benjamin Tillman (Clemson), Woodrow Wilson (Princeton), John C. Calhoun (Yale), and others.

Yet in the April 14 issue of the Greenville Journal, the paper honors the 90th anniversary of a local university named for one such individual, Bob Jones, Sr.

To be sure, officials at this university deny that the school has ever been racist.

Dr. Chuck Hartman, Fellowship Bible Church 

Bob Jones, III is quoted denying that the ban on interracial dating was racist, since it was promulgated before blacks were admitted as students. But does not the ban on the admission of blacks constitute a very powerful form of racism itself? Discrimination and segregation on the basis of race is racism. The prohibition on black enrollment was racism and the limitation of the university’s Christian education to white students a manifestation of white supremacism.

Furthermore, the stipulation that black students, once enrolled, only marry “within their race” was racism, and the continuation of that policy until the end of the century was a continuation of racism. Has this attitude changed? John Chrysostom famously exhorted, “Let the sinner’s repentance be as notorious as his sin.”

Has the Bob Jones University leadership truly repented from its racist past?

In the Greenville Journal article Bob Jones, III is further quoted saying that the interracial dating ban was “so insignificant to the school and never talked about.’ This is a remarkable statement by the same man who fought the IRS over the school’s loss of tax exempt status due to this very issue. That fight was taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, hardly an effort to be expended for an “insignificant” matter.  This was a principled fight by the university to preserve both its tax-exempt classification and its ban on interracial dating.

The Journal article quotes current President Steven Pettit as saying, concerning the repeal of the ban on interracial dating, that “this was not a hill to die on.”

Consider that metaphor for a moment. It means that interracial dating was no longer an issue the university leadership considered important enough to continue the fight. In truth, as my daughter wisely stated, this was not a hill that they should have been on in the first place!

Pettit also states that the dating issue is “a social and cultural issue, not a biblical issue.” As an evangelical pastor I can hardly accept the dichotomy between biblical and social, believing as most evangelicals do, that biblical principles have their most abiding influence on social and cultural norms.

Historically, the ending of the slave trade and the eventual abolition of slavery were movements led by evangelical Christians like William Wilberforce. Is Pettit saying that the university continues to advocate segregation of the races as a “social and cultural” issue, though not as a biblical one?

Why is it so hard for the university’s leadership to acknowledge that the school’s attitude was wrong? Not insignificant, not unbiblical, not unimportant, but wrong? The only person in leadership who has actually apologized for the school’s attitude toward race relations is former President Stephen Jones, who sadly was not interviewed for the article.

Bob Jones University does have a well-deserved reputation for academics. The institution has the right to attempt a change in worldview, and to distance itself from that past. Unfortunately the comments quoted in The Journal article leave room for doubt regarding the sincerity of this attempt. Perhaps, a movement should begin to take down the name so long associated with institutionalized racism.

If Bob Jones University were a rose, then it would certainly smell sweeter to many by another name.

***

Dr. Hartman has been pastoring elder at Fellowship Bible Church.  He is a chemical engineer by degree and training, with a Masters of Divinity from Greenville Presbyterian Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte.

 

 

19 comments
  1. I think that Hartman is a politically correct snob! BJU has changed policies which is enough. The name of the school is historic and it honors the founder, who while not perfect like the rest of us, is worthy of honor. I am sick and tired of liberals like Hartman who wants to rewrite history. History happened, get over it, old boy!

    1. David and other white skin worshipping pagans who masquerade as Christians, will never change their stripes! That is what most Bob Jones supporters and southern whites are. White skin worshipping heathens and pagans masquerading as Christians!

  2. The 2008 racial apology wasn’t a brainchild of Stephen Jones but pressure from a group of concerned alumni in the form of a petition to the university called “Please Reconcile”.

    The university leadership issued an “apology” just as they were receiving the petition, which was signed by over 500 alumni, making it seem as if it was their original idea. It wasn’t.

  3. Thank you, Pastor Hartman. Thank you for being the first conservative Evangelical pastor since Billy Graham to call Bob Joes University to repentance for their sin of racism.

    We alumni attempted the same in 2008 with our Please Reconcile effort — the effort that motivated their Statement of Regret. But we must continue to call them to repentance.

  4. Southern white Christian evangelicals (actually pagans and heathens) voted for a whoremonger called Donald Trump. Nothing has really changed.

  5. Is Fellowship Bible Church, where Dr. Hartman is a pastor, not racism? I past by their church Sunday mornings and it looks like a Bob Jones White Fundamentalist school.

  6. Most white southern so-called Christians cannot get out of their slave owner or slave driving mentality. White skin worshippers masquerading as Christians. And then they go to India to preach about the evils of caste system.

  7. The campaign for political correctness is the biggest joke I’ve ever seen. If y’all want to concentrate on the wrongs of the past and not deal with issues of the present then have at it. I hope we do have ww3 just so the ones like who wrote this article and all those who care and think like that can go with me. You and all you care about is a joke. Camille K Lewis you and those like you are the most worthless kind of person.

    1. Issues of the present as bad as the wrongs of the past. White skin worshipping pagans masquerading as christians voting for a race appealing thrice married philanderer! Enough said about the present..perhaps includes Steven himself!

  8. Gil,
    It is unfortunate that our churches are not more diverse. Fellowship Bible Church does not discriminate on the basis of race, nor does its affiliate school. Over the years we have had a mildly diverse congregation, no where near as diverse as we wish, and in the the thirty years I have been at the church there was never a complaint of racism or favoritism on the basis of race or socio-economic level. We lament the lack of diversity in our assembly (a lament shared by many of my pastoral colleagues in both white and black churches). We have been searching for a way to establish a congregation that matches the biblical call ‘from every tongue, tribe, and nation.’ Since you drive by our building so often on a Sunday morning, please stop by one Sunday; I’d love to hear your advice on being successfully diverse. I assure you our lack of diversity is not be design and certainly not by edict.

    1. Dr. Hartman. Reflections of society. Let us not forget that the good “white Christian folks” of Greenville, SC voted for a thrice married philanderer in the primary, not in the general, but the primary against good Christian folks such as Ted Cruz and many others. How many of your white parishioners voted for the philanderer in February 2016? What goes on in the general society is reflected in the church fellowship. As far as I am concerned, I would not be arguing here if the hypocritical white American so-called Christians do not come here to Asia to proselytize and criticize the evils of caste system (it is evil no doubt and you are preaching to the folks whose ancestors were converted by St. Thomas) to the people who have been Christians since before the time your ancestors were living in caves hunting for a living (without your second amendment of course). If folks on this board find this hard to believe type St. Thomas and Mar Thoma Church in the google. Better to preach to the white pagans of the US than to the folks, more dark skinned than the African Americans, whose ancestors were converted by St. Thomas.

  9. Without a doubt, the esteemed author would refer to the killing of babies as women’s health rights. One would expect to hear similar opinions from Hillary.

    1. Steven: you mean kill fetus. GOP and their white pagan supporters including you have been killing babies for a long time by cutting WIC and other programs. May be I am living half way around the world, but know you hypocrisy well.

  10. Steve,
    There is no esteem in the killing of unborn children under any name. Somewhere between the equality of the races to your conclusion that I am anti-life, your logical path lost me.

  11. And so the dead horse continues to be beaten. They reversed the policy and have moved on. It’s a private institution–don’t like it? Don’t go there. I’m personally not a huge fan of the place, for my own personal reasons. Went there myself, but I doubt my daughter will when it’s her time for college. I do respect their right to exist and operate according to their beliefs. Again, choice.

    And I choose not to carry around ridiculous bitterness against the school for 20 or 30 years. Let it go. Don’t be like the above angry, contentious, grudge-holding woman whose sole purpose everyday she wakes up is to see the place burn to the ground. I can’t even begin to imagine the weight of that Bitterness Backpack. Let it go. Fight TODAY’s issues.

    1. People have committed murders thirty years ago and escaped from prison twenty years ago and have never been caught and have moved on. Try telling that to the relatives of the victims. People like Bob Jones and his ilk are the main reason why many died around the world without the redemption of the blood of Christ.

    2. Anyone can have their beliefs. But, they are white skin worshipping pagans masquerading as Christians. What they have done is blasphemy. In the tower of babel days, that they love to quote, we stoned the blasphemers to death under Judaic law. The main reason people like Bob Jones and the so-called southern white Christians and apartheid Christians existed because they did not believe and many still do not believe that they are redeemed by the blood of Christ (Revelations 5:4). Many in practice believe that they are redeemed by their white ancestor’s blood!

  12. That’s a mighty fine quote about repentance and forgiveness.

    John Chrysostom famously exhorted, “Let the sinner’s repentance be as notorious as his sin.”

    But as a pastor of a church, doesn’t god have much better quotes about forgiveness and repentance that conflict with your chosen measure?

  13. Dr Hartman, I was taken aback by your article, on many different points which I will not get into. As Christians we have a responsibility to live according to the Word of God, which we also love to do because it is always right. Ephesians 4: 1-3 says “I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Your strong opinion about Dr. Bob Jones Sr.’s character made me wonder if you ever met him. It is very sad to witness one Christian leader belittling another Christian leader in public (John 13:35), in particular in this case, in which Dr. Bob Jones Sr. is not able to defend himself from your accusations because he is no longer with us . I did not know him, but do know that he led many to Christ through his preaching, and for that I think highly of him. We are instructed in Scripture to strive for the unity of the church. I am curious to know how you reconcile your comments in this article with Ephesians 4: 1-3 and John 13: 34.

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